Agricultural Commission Overturns Land Act Veto
Bulgaria's Agricultural Committee in Parliament voted on Monday against President Rosen Plevneliev's veto on the Agricultural Land Ownership Act.
Ten MPs were in support of overturning the veto, while 8 abstained, according to Expert.bg
Commenting on the move, the Committee's chair, Svetla Bachvarova, dismissed the President's claims that the bill would contravene EU law by hindering free movement of capitals and would as well restrict the rights of two million Bulgarian citizens.
In Bachvarova's words, rights of Bulgarians were not referred to in the bill as it only deals with natural or legal persons of non-Bulgarian origin and of less than five-year-long residence.
Lawmakers from both ruling parties, the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS), as well as ultra-nationalist Ataka's representatives, were among those voicing strong support for the bill.
MPs from the opposition party GERB (which raised former Regional Development Minister Plevneliev's bid for the presidency in 2011), however, were also reluctant to approve of the veto.
Tsveta Karayancheva and Vladimir Ivanov said they would not take any stance on the issue, but did not agree with Plevneliev on his motives.
Under the new Agricultural Land Ownership Act, rights over agricultural land can be obtained by natural or legal persons that have resided or have been registered in Bulgaria for a period of over 5 years.
Plevneliev believes it would prevent more than 2 million Bulgarians living abroad from acquiring land.
He says the measures stipulated by the act do not create conditions encouraging Bulgarian expatriates, who usually leave for lack of employment or slender payment, to engage in business activities in their homeland.
They also come at odds with the regime for title acquisition by EU nationals enshrined in the Constitution and thus violate both Bulgarian and European law.
Plevneliev's veto is to be discussed in Parliament later on Tuesday.
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